By Joshua Brockway
Missio Alliance has announced a conference titled “Church and Post-Christian Culture: Christian Witness” in the Way of Jesus. “Church and Post-Christian Culture” seeks to gather historic Anabaptist groups along with a growing group of leaders who have found a new home in the theological visions of the tradition. The Church of the Brethren is co-sponsoring the gathering with Missio Alliance, a "fellowship of churches, denominations, schools, and networks partnering together to see the church in North America equipped for fuller and more faithful participation in God’s mission.” The event is scheduled for Sept. 19-20 at Carlisle (Pa.) Brethren in Christ Church.
As Annual Conference moderator Shawn Flory Replogle noted in 2010, the Brethren are in vogue. By co-sponsoring this gathering with Missio Alliance we are looking forward to the opportunity to take part in the growing interest in our perspective of Christian discipleship.
In announcing the gathering, Missio Alliance observes, “It seems that this interest [in Anabaptism] has arisen for a variety of reasons--most notably the realities and challenges of inhabiting an increasingly Post-Christian (Post-Christendom) cultural context, wearisome battles between the polarities of modern evangelicalism, and a fresh awareness of kingdom theology, especially regarding our understanding of the gospel.”
Keynote addresses will be given by leaders in this growing movement including author and pastors Greg Boyd, Bruxy Cavey, and David Fitch. Emerging leaders such as Anton Flores-Maisonet, Brian Zahnd, and Meohan Good also will take part. Evangelical theologians Cherith Fee-Nordling (Northern Seminary) and Frank James (Biblical Theological Seminary) will speak to the emerging intersection of Anabaptism and North American evangelicalism. Networking sessions and workshops round out the schedule and will include sessions by practitioner leaders from all the sponsoring groups, including the Church of the Brethren.
Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries, states, “As stewards of a unique combination of Anabaptist and Pietist commitments, we Brethren have an opportunity to contribute to a conversation that is shaping Christian practice for the 21st century. We are honored and excited to be at a table where God is breathing new life into discipleship formation and Christian community through the convergence of a historic witness and a fresh outpouring of the Spirit.”
As a co-sponsor for the gathering the Church of the Brethren has a number of discounted registrations. If you are interested in attending the conference, contact Randi Rowan, program assistant for Congregational Life Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 303.
More information is at www.missioalliance.org/event/church-after-christendom-christian-witness-in-the-way-of-jesus .
-- Joshua Brockway is director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship for the Church of the Brethren